Monday, 30 November 2015

ITI German network Christmas party 2015

With the festive season fast approaching, around 25 members of the ITI’s German network gathered at the Kipferl Kneipe and Kitchen in London on 28th November 2015 for Gernet's annual Christmas get-together. The Kipferl is an Austrian coffeehouse in North Kensington, slightly tucked away in a side street off Portobello Road. It has gained a fine reputation for its excellent food and Viennese coffee varieties, served in a contemporary Austrian setting.

Kipferl Kneipe and Kitchen in North Kensington, London

It had been decided, after many years of meeting at the Barley Mow pub on Horseferry Road for this occasion, to try a new venue for this year’s event. Personally, I think the Kipferl was a great choice: the (German-speaking) staff were welcoming and friendly; the food was delicious; and the surroundings were both comfortable and stylish. Good company and conversations made for an enjoyable afternoon, with conversation topics ranging from the challenges involved in translating a novel via cycling in London to the availability of real Advent wreaths in the UK. And since we had the whole restaurant to ourselves, it was (relatively) easy to mingle and circulate around the room.

Given that most of us work in isolation, this get-together provided another wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow professionals in person and exchange work-related or other experiences. There was ample time to share tips on working habits, compare notes and talk in a relaxed social atmosphere. And I even met a couple of translators whom I had previously only known as Twitter names!
It’s true that quite a lot of us translators – due to our natural temperaments – tend to prefer smaller “doses” of socialising; so events of this kind can be energy-sapping. I, for one, am certainly not used to chatting for many hours. However, I definitely think it was worthwhile making my way into the capital for this meeting: it was a convivial afternoon that offered a chance to spend quality time with like-minded people.

Sadly, the afternoon drew to a close quite quickly, and at around 5 o’clock it was time for us to leave – after the 5 hours had just flown by. I love walking through London and enjoyed my walk back to Paddington Station afterwards to catch the train back home to Bristol. The experience of meeting at the Kipferl was enhanced by Twitter interaction as it allowed us to stay in communication for a while longer even as we were making our way back home.

Walking back to Paddington Station

By the way, you can keep up to date with the latest news and stories from the ITI’s German network by following @ITIGerNet on Twitter or by liking GerNet on Facebook. Do join us there!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

How successful women make the most of their time

"So, how are you?" When people ask me how I am, how things are going, I often catch myself replying: “Busy, as usual.” Do you find yourself doing this, too?

In her latest book I Know How She Does It, Laura Vanderkam describes, and draws conclusions from, the strategies that working women employ to create space for their priorities. It contains numerous examples of how women with full lives structure their days to have it all. “Having it all” is defined by Laura as a life involving professional success as well as enough time for personal pursuits.

Combining professional success and personal pursuits

The book obviously is again set in an American context. The women who recorded their time for one week as part of Laura’s "Mosaic Project" had to fulfil the following criteria: a) They had to have an annual income of more than USD 100,000; and b) they had to have at least one child under the age of 18 living at home.

Laura has been criticised for the controlling rigidness of her approach to time management. I, too, had felt slightly put off by her tenet that "a life is lived in hours" and that we should plan carefully how to spend the 168 hours that are available to us each week. With her new book, Laura demonstrates there is indeed nothing rigid about a disciplined and thought-through approach to her time management strategies.

The book sets out not just Laura’s favourite time management strategies, but also offers fantastic ideas on how to seize quality time, how to always hunt for the positive, and generally how to maintain a relaxed approach to life. They are practical ideas that are instantly applicable to everyday life – amidst all its craziness – and in particular when you combine work with raising children.

Just how much life really can get away from you when you’re juggling work and young children became clear to me a couple of years ago when at a get-together with former work colleagues from Bristol’s tourist office, I was told – to my absolute amazement – that Jessica Raine, who had previously worked with us, had, in the meantime, become a national film star.

I hadn’t been aware of this at all as I’d been so busy with work and my young children that I hadn’t met friends or colleagues, let alone found the time to switch on the telly over a prolonged period. I have since, of course, caught up on watching (most of) the “Call the Midwife” episodes. It felt surreal to see Jess on the TV screen! I am so pleased for her, as this is the career Jess had dreamed of!

I know I tend to have trouble carving out time for leisure or to decompress, so I found I Know How She Does It insightful and refreshing. I have drawn a lot of inspiration from it. Next time I’m asked how I am and how thing are going, hopefully my answer will be a bit different: "Busy – but less busy than usual."